4 witnesses describe White Michigan man yelling racial slurs, attacking Black teen with chain bike lock

Lee Mouat accused of injuring Devin Freelon in ‘racially motivated attack’

Lee James Mouat Jr., 44, of Newport, Michigan was charged on June 8, 2020 for assaulting an 18-year-old Black man in Monroe County. (WDIV)

MONROE, Mich. – Federal officials have revealed four different witness perspectives in the case of a White Monroe County man who is accused of yelling racial slurs and attacking a Black teenager with a chain bike lock.

Lee James Mouat Jr., 42, of Newport, is accused of attacking Devin Freelon -- an 18-year-old senior at Orchard Center High School at the time -- on June 6 in the parking of lot of Sterling State Park in Monroe.

Mouat was arraigned June 9 on charges of ethnic intimidation, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder and assault with a dangerous weapon.

WARNING: There is explicit and racially charged language from the FBI’s criminal complaint quoted below.

What happened

FBI agents said Mouat yelled racial slurs at Freelon and his two friends June 6 at the park, and attacked him because of his race.

Freelon said he was in the parking lot of Sterling State Park when Mouat, who he had never met before, yelled, “(N-words) don’t belong on this beach," according to the criminal complaint.

While Freelon got a portable speaker out of a vehicle, Mouat continued to yell racial slurs at him and his two friends, who are also African American, officials said.

When Freelon walked over to his friends with the speaker, he saw Mouat moving quickly toward him, according to authorities. Mouat swung an object and struck Freelon in the face, court records show.

Deputies from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office arrived and took Freelon to a nearby emergency room, officials said. He was then transferred to Detroit Receiving Hospital, according to the criminal complaint.

Freelon lost several teeth, suffered a facial fracture and had cuts, court documents say.

The criminal complaint includes witness accounts from four different people.

“Based on the (information above and below), I respectfully submit that there is probable cause to believe that, on June 6, 2020, Lee James Mouat willfully caused bodily injury to (Freelon), who is African American, because of the actual or perceived race and color of (Freelon),” the conclusion of the criminal complaint reads.

Witness 1: Park visitor

The first witness reported seeing Mouat right before the attack.

The witness noticed Mouat walking with his family toward the parking lot while Mouat made loud comments about some music that was playing, according to authorities.

In the criminal complaint, the witness told officials that Mouat said, “These (N-words) are playing gang music,” and, “I want to hit them with this cooler.”

The witness specifically recalled hearing Mouat say the N-word and “monsters,” as well as, “I wish someone would say something to me so I can beat them,” according to court documents.

Several minutes later, there was a commotion in the parking lot, the witness said.

Witness 2: Someone who knows Mouat

The criminal complaint says Mouat “was known to” the second witness, who reported seeing him before and during the alleged attack.

The witness said Mouat was getting angry at a group of young Black men, officials said.

“I’ll bash their heads in if they don’t turn (their music) down,” the witness reported Mouat saying.

Officials said the witness heard Mouat yell racial slurs at the group and repeatedly direct the N-word at them while walking to the parking lot.

Once in the parking lot, Mouat continued to call the teenagers the N-word, so they started to yell back at him, according to the witness.

Mouat approached the young men and they continued yelling at each other, according to authorities.

The witness said Mouat went back to his vehicle, got a chain bike lock, walked over to the group and struck one of the teenagers in the jaw with the chain, court documents say.

The witness said the teenager who was struck fell to the ground.

Witness 3: Sitting in vehicle

The third witness was someone who was inside a vehicle in the parking lot and observed Mouat before and during the attack, according to the criminal complaint.

The witness reported noticing Mouat walking through the parking lot with his family and having a loud argument with a group of Black teenagers, officials said.

According to the criminal complaint, the witness heard Mouat yell, “Black lives don’t matter.”

Mouat walked to a nearby minivan and said, “I’ll show you,” the witness said. He grabbed a “chain-like object” from the minivan and swung it at one of the teenagers, according to the witness.

Witness 4: Freelon’s friend

One of Freelon’s friends who was at the park during the alleged attack was interviewed as the fourth witness.

The witness reported hearing Mouat yell, “This is my beach, (N-word).”

When the teenagers saw who was yelling, the witness called back, “What?” Mouat looked right at the teenagers and repeated himself while approaching them, according to authorities.

The witness reported anticipating a fight because of Mouat’s posture and attitude, court records show.

When Mouat confronted them, the witness reported saying, “We’ll kick your a--," according to the complaint.

“There are three of you, that’s not fair,” Mouat said, according to Freelon’s friend.

“I’ll kick your a-- alone,” the witness reported saying.

Mouat walked away, saying, “I’ve got something for you in my car,” according to authorities.

The witness assumed Mouat was leaving with his family, but he returned with a “chain-like object” in one hand, court records say.

Mouat swung the chain at Freelon and struck him in the face, sending him staggering into the third friend, the witness said.

Mouat also swung the chain at the witness, but missed, according to the criminal complaint.

Police arrived at the scene and stopped the attack, the witness said.

You can watch Mouat’s full arraignment from June 9 below.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.